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James Tbwne 




Contemporaries fa 

Being No. 5 in the Source Book Series of the 
National Park Service 



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A portion of James town I stand is included in Colonial National Historical 
Park and is administered by the National Park Service of the United States 
Department of the Interior. Jamestown National Historic Site, the other 
portion of the Island, is administered by the Association for the Preservation 
of Virginia Antiquities. 

A cooperative agreement between the Association and the Department of the 
Interior has been in effect since 1940 providing for a unified program of 
development for the whole Jamestowyi Island area. 

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C. 

Price 20 cents 


in the words of 


Edited by Edward M. Riley and 
Charles E. Hatch, Jr. 

National Park Service Source Book Series No. $ 

United States Department of the Interior, 

Douglas McKay, Secretary, 

national park service, Conrad L. Wirth, Director 



Introduction iv 

i . The First Landing 1 

2. Jamestown Island . . . . , 2 

3. The Natives 2 

4. Political Wranglings 3 

5. Early Explorations 4 

6. Smith Puts the Colonists to Work 5 

7. "Starving Time" 5 

8. Sir Thomas Bale 8 

9. Some Industrial Beginnings 9 

10. Tobacco 9 

11. " James Towne" 1614 and 1616 11 

12. The Beginnings of Home Rule 12 

13. A "Red Letter' Year 14 

14. The Massacre of 1622 15 

15. George Sandys 15 

16. "New Towne" 19 

17. The Virginia Census of 1625 19 

18. The End of the Virginia Company 22 

19. The Port of Jamestown 23 

20. Brick Houses 24 

21. Governor Harvey Deposed 24 

22. The Cromwellian Commonwealth 25 

23. The Town Act of 1662 27 

24. The Town and Its Government — i6y6 27 

25. Bacon s Rebellion 28 

26. Jamestown — In the Balance 30 

27. The Last Statehouse 30 

28. Jamestown Abandoned as the Seat of Government 31 

29. Jamestown Declines 33 

Bibliography 35 


JAMESTOWN today is an island — the site of the first permanent 
English settlement in America and capital of the colony of 
Virginia for almost a century, 1607-98. It grew from the first 
settlement in 1607 into a town and then declined as the plantation 
system developed, scattering the population of the colony far and 
wide along the shores of the deep rivers. Jamestown was aban- 
doned as the capital over two centuries ago, with the burning of 
the fourth statehouse in 1698. All attempts to force its develop- 
ment and to continue it as the chief town in Virginia had failed. 
Eventually, the town site became farm land and little remained 
above ground to show later generations that "James Citty" was 
once the principal town and center of government for Virginia. 
This account of Jamestown is not an attempt to present a short 
history of the town. It is a presentation of excerpts and selections 
from records, laws, accounts, and descriptions made by men who 
lived in, or were associated with, "James Towne." Jamestown 
was a life and blood development; it was human, normal, and 
natural, with emergencies that tested the calibre of its men and 
leaders. Nothing makes this clearer than the documents them- 

Edward M. Riley 
Charles E. Hatch, Jr. 
Colonial National Historical Park, 
Yorktown y Virginia. 
November 29, 1941* 


i. The First Landing 

THE story of Jamestown has its roots in English history, yet for 
convenience it can be said to have started with the grant of a char- 
ter by King James I of England to the Virginia Company of London in 
the spring of 1606. This charter, carrying rights to settle, explore, 
and govern limited sections of the New World, made possible the first 
permanent English settlement in America. The Virginia Company, 
organized on a joint stock basis, resembled other such colonizing and 
trading companies of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries that 
began primarily as profit-making enterprises. Its membership em- 
braced all classes of English society. By the end of 1606 the company 
had projected and organized an expedition with the purpose of settling 
in the New World and Captain Christopher Newport, its commander, 
was ready to sail from London. The history of the voyage and the 
first landing is quaintly told by Master George Percy as follows: 

ON Saturday the twentieth of December in the yeere 1606. the fleet fell from 
London, and the fift of January we anchored in the Downes: but the winds con- 
tinued contrarie so long, that we were forced to stay there some time, where wee 
suffered great stormes, but the skilfulnesse of the Captaine wee suffered no 
great losse or danger . . . 

The three and twentieth day [of March] we fell with the Hand of Mattanenio, 
in the West Indies. The foure and twentieth day we anchored at Dominico, 
within fourteene degrees of the Line, a very faire Hand, the Trees full of sweet 
and good smels; inhabited by many Savage Indians. . . . 

The tenth day [of April] we set saile, and disimboged out of the West Indies, 
and bare oure course Northerly. . . . The six and twentieth day of Aprill, 
about foure a clocke in the morning, wee descried the Land of Virginia. The 
same day wee entred into the Bay of Chesupioc directly, without any let or 
hinderance. There wee landed and discovered a little way, but wee could find 
nothing worth the speaking of, but faire meddowes and goodly tall Trees, with 
such Fresh-waters running through the woods, as I was almost ravished at the 
first sight thereof. . . . 

The nine and twentieth day we set up a Crosse at Chesupioc Bay, and named 
that place Cape Henry. Thirtieth day, we came with our ships to Cape Comfort; 
where we saw five Savages running on the shoare. . . . 

The twelfth day [of May] we went backe to our ships, and discovered a point of 

Land, called Archers Hope, which was sufficient with a little labour to defend our 

selves against any Enemy. The soile was good and fruitfull, with excellent 

good Timber .... If it had not beene disliked, because the ship could not ride 

s^, neere the shoare, we had setled there to all the Collonies contentment. 

^ [I] 

The thirteenth day, we came to our seating place in Paspihas Countrey, some 
eight miles from the point of Land, which I made mention before: where our 
shippes doe lie so neere the shoare that they are moored to the Trees in six fathom 

The fourteenth day, we landed all our men, which were set to worke about the 
fortification, and others some to watch and ward as it was convenient. . . . 

The fifteenth of June we had built and finished our Fort, which was triangle 
wise, having three Bulwarkes, at every corner, like a halfe Moone, and foure or five 
pieces of Artillerie mounted in them. We had made our selves sufficiently strong 
for these Savages. We had also sowne most of our Corne on two Mountaines. 
It sprang a mans height from the ground. 

Observations in 1607 by Master George Percy. 

2. Jamestown Island 

IN their first act, the choice of a site for settlement \ the colonists 
violated the helpful instructions which they had brought with them 
from England. These instructions stressed that they select a health- 
ful location which could be defended easily. Jamestown as a point 
for settlement proved none too desirable :, at least from the standpoint 
of healthy as a later observer noted. 

The place, on which the towne is built, is a perfect Peninsula, or tract of land 
allmost wholly incompast with water. Haveing, on the Sowth side the River 
(Formerly Powhetan, now called James River) 3 miles brode, incompast on the 
North, from the East pointe, with a deep creeke, rangeing in a cemicircle, to the 
west, within 10 paces of the River; and there, by a small Istmos, tack'd to the 

This Iseland (for so it is denominate) hath for Longitude (East and West) nere 
upon two miles, and for Lattitude about halfe so much, beareing in the wholl[e] 
compass about 5 miles, litle more or less. It is low ground, full of Marches and 
Swomps, which makes the Aire, especially in the Sumer, insalubritious and un- 
helthy: It is not at all replenished with springs of fresh water, and that which 
they have in their wells, brackish, ill sented, penurious, and not gratefull to the 
stumack; . . . Bacon s and Ingram s Proceedings . 

3. The Natives 

BEFORE 1607 the native inhabitants of Virginia had been little 
affected by contact with the whites, and they were quick to greet 
the first English settlers to the New World. As later events were to 
prove, the Indians could be friends ', or enemies, and accordingly could 


render assistance ', as they did in the early years of the colony ', or destruc- 
tion, as they did in the massacres of 1622 and 1644. John Smith, 
who dealt successfully with the natives, has left us an account of them 
as they appeared while their ways of lift were still unmodified by the 
white man s influence. 


The land is not populous, for the men be fewe; their far greater number is of 
women and children. Within 60 miles of James Towne there are about some 5000 
people, but of able men fit for their warres scarse 1500. To nourish so many 
together they haue yet no means, because they make so smal a benefit of their 
land, be it never so fertill. . . . The people differ very much in stature, especially 
in language. . . . 

Some being very great as the Sesquesahamocks> others very little as the Wigh- 
cocomocoes: but generally tall and straight, of a comely proportion, and of a colour 
browne when they are of any age, but they are borne white. Their haire is 
generally black; but few have any beards. The men weare halfe their heads 
shaven, the other halfe long. . . . 

They are inconstant in everie thing, but what feare constraineth them to keepe. 
Craftie, timerous, quicke of apprehension and very ingenuous. Some are of 
disposition fearefull, some bold, some cautelous, all Savage. Generally covetous 
of copper, beads, and such like trash. They are soone moved to anger, and so 
malitious, that they seldome forget an iniury: they seldome steale one from an- 
other, least their coniurers should reueale it, and so they be pursued and punished. 
That they are thus feared is certaine, but that any can reveale their offences by 
conjuration I am doubtfull. Their women are carefull not to bee suspected of 
dishonesty without the leave of their husbands. 

Each household knoweth their owne lands and gardens, and most live of their 
owne labours. 

A Map of Virginia With a Description by Captain John Smith. 

4. Political Wranglings 

WHILE the natives were at first generally friendly, the colonists 
encountered many hardships in their new environment. To 
the disadvantages of an unhealthy location were added the rigors of a 
new climate and deficient food supply. Conditions would have been 
difficult even if complete harmony had existed in the little settlement. 
Such unfortunately was not the case, as can be seen in the ousting of 
President Wingfield of the Council as told by himself. 


By this tyme, the Councell had fully plotted to depose Wingfeild, the then 
President; and had drawne certeyne Artycles in wrighting amongst themselues, 
and toke their oathes upon the Evangelistes to observe them: the effect whereof 
was, first/ 

To depose the then President 

To make Master Ratcliff the next President 

Not to depose the one the other 

Not to take the deposed President into Councell againe 

Not to take Master Archer into the Councell, or any other, without the Consent 
of every one of them. To theis they had subscribed, as out of their owne mouthes, 
at severall tymes, it was easily gathered/ . . . 

Septem. The 10 of September, Master Ratcliff, Master Smyth, and Master 

Martyrm, came to the Presidentes Tennt with a warrant, subscribed under their 
handes, to depose the President; sayeing they thought him very unworthy to be 
eyther President or of the Councell, and therefore discharged him of bothe. . . • 
I was comytted to a Serieant [Sergeant], and sent to the Pynnasse; but I was 
answered with, "If they did me wronge, they must answere it/" 

A Discourse of Virginia (1608) by Edward Maria Wingfield. 

5. Early Explorations 

WRANGLINGS among the leaders of the colonists did not block 
all worth-while accomplishments . Spurred on by the demands 
of the London Company for profits. Captain Newport, in the fall of 
1608, made an expedition up the fames River into the Indian country, 
hoping to find gold and an access to the western sea. 

The ships having disburdened her selfe of 70 persons, with the first gentle- 
woman and woman servant that arrived in our Colony; Captaine Newport with 
al the Councell, and 120 chosen men, set forward for the discovery of Monacan: 
leaving the President at the fort with 80. (such as they were) to relade the shippe. 

Arriving at the falles, we marched by land some forty myles in 2 daies and a 
halfe; and so returned downe to the same path we went. Two townes wee dis- 
covered of the Monacans, the people neither using us well nor ill: yet for our 
securitie wee tooke one of their pettie Werowances [chiefs], and lead him bound, to 
conduct us the way. 

And in our returne [we] searched many places wee supposed mynes, about which 
we spent some time in refining; having one William Callicut a refiner, fitted for 
that purpose. From that crust of earth wee digged, hee perswaded us to beleeve 
he extracted some smal quantitie of silver (and not unlikely better stuffe might 
bee had for the digging). With this poore trial, we were contented to leave this 
faire, fertill, well watred countrie. 

The Proceedings of the English Colonie in 
Virginia . . . 1606, till this present 1 61 2, . . . 


6. Smith Puts the Colonists to Work 

OUT of the internal dissensions there arose a forceful leader in the 
person of Captain John Smith. Under his strongs yet sometimes 
harsh, leadership real and necessary projects were completed. 

Now we so quietly followed our businesse, that in three moneths [Febr.-April 
1609] wee made three or foure Last of Tarre, Pitch, and Sope ashes; produced a 
tryall of Glasse; made a Well in the Fort of excellent sweet water, which till then 
was wanting; built some twentie houses; re-covered our Church: provided Nets and 
W[e]ires for fishing; and to stop the disorders of our disorderly theeues [thieves], 
and the Salvages [Savages], built a Blockhouse in the neck of our Isle, kept by a 
Garrison to entertaine the Salvages trade, and none to passe nor repasse Salvage 
nor Christian without the presidents order. Thirtie or forty Acres of ground we 
digged and planted. Of three sowes in eighteene moneths, increased 60 and od 
Piggs. And neere 500. chickings brought up themselves without having any 
meat given them: but the Hogs were transported to Hog. Isle [Island]: where also 
we built a block-house with a garison to give us notice of any shipping, and 
for their exercise they made Clapbord and waynscot, and cut downe trees. 

John Smith, The Genera// Historie of Virginia, 
New-Eng/and y and the Summer Is/es . . . 1624. 

7. "Starving Time" 

AT Jamestown the settlers now had crude houses, a church, and a 
iT palisaded fort. Here there was hope in its season, and then dis- 
tress. Smith was injured in a gunpowder explosion and in the fall of 
1609 returned to England. In the absence of his capable hand, in the 
winter of 1609-10, hunger and disease almost strangled this the first 
permanent English settlement in America. Affairs in Virginia 
reached the lowest ebb. This period, during which nine-tenths of 
the colonists perished, came to be called the "Starving Time." 

Now all of us att James Towne beginneinge to feele that sharp pricke of hunger 
which noe man trewly descrybe butt he which hath Tasted the bitternesse thereof 
A worlde of miseries ensewed as the Sequell will expresse unto you in so mutche 
thatt some to satisfye their hunger have robbed the store for the which I caused 
them to be executed. Then haveinge fedd uponn horses and other beastes as 
long as they Lasted we weare gladd to make shifte with vermine as doggs Catts 
Ratts and myce All was fishe thatt came to Nett to satisfye Crewell hunger as 
to eate Bootes shoes or any other leather some colde [could] Come by And those 

364815 0—56- 

CX&£/? arc the LinU thatjhew tkyTaCC;lutAofc 

Ihat/hew thy GraCC and ff lory, brighter he : 

nltyFairC'Dtfcoturtes and Towft-Ovcrtlirowcs 

Of Salvages, much, Civillizd, hy 

BeJIJkewthy Sjirit;and to it Glory 

So,tkou artBraf?e without, tut (folae, Within, . 


Smith as shown on his map of New England first published in 1614. 
Original plate in the William L. Clements Library 



The Indian maid, Pocahontas, through her friendship with Captain John Smith 
and marriage to John Rolfe, became a real aid to the colony. This illustration 
is from the Seventeenth-century portrait formerly at Booton Hall, Norfolk, 
England, and now in the National Gallery of Art, Mellon Collection, Washington, 
D. C. Reproduced through the courtesy of the National Gallery of Art. 


being Spente and devoured some weare inforced to searche the woodes and to 
feede upon Serpents and snakes and to digge the earthe for wylde and unknowne 
Rootes where many of our men weare Cutt off of and slayne by the Salvages. 

And now famin begineinge to Looke gastely and pale in every face thatt notheinge 
was spared to mainteyne Lyfe and to doe those things wch seame incredible . . . 

To eate many [of] our men this starveing Tyme did Runn Away unto the Sal- 
vages whome we never heard of after. 

A Trewe Relacyon by George Percy. 

8. Sir Thomas Dale 

FOLLOWING this great crisis, and the near abandonment of the 
colony in June 1610, new life was instilled into the colony in 161 1 
by the arrival of a new deputy governor. Sir Thomas Dale. Under his 
direction the existing communal system was abolished and a more 
stringent code of laws, suitable to the harsh conditions of a savage 
land, was introduced. Copies of these laws have been preserved, and 
a selection from them reads: 

There shall no man or woman, Launderer or Launderesse, dare to wash any 
uncleane Linnen, drive bucks [wash clothes], or throw out the water or suds of 
fowle cloathes, in the open streete, within the Pallizadoes, or within forty foote 
of the same, nor rench, and make cleane, any kettle, pot, or pan, or such like 
vessell within twenty foote of the old well, or new Pumpe: nor shall any one 
aforesaid, within lesse then a quarter of one mile from the Pallizadoes, dare to doe 
the necessities of nature, since by these unmanly, slothfull, and loathsome im- 
modesties, the whole Fort may bee choaked, and poisoned with ill aires, and so 
corrupt (as in all reason cannot but much infect the same) and this shall they 
take notice of, and avoide, upon paine of whipping and further punishment, as 
shall be thought meete, by the censure of a martiall Court. . . . 

Hee [the governor] shall not suffer in his Garrison any Souldier to enter into 
Guard, or to bee drawne out into the field without being armed according 
to the Marshals order, which is, that every shot shall either be furnished with 
a quilted coate of Canvas, a headpeece, and a sword, or else with a light 
Armor, and Bases quilted, with which hee shall be furnished: and every Targiteer 
with his Bases to the small of his legge, and his headpeece, sword and pistoll, or 
Scuppet provided for that end. And likewisee every Officer armed as before, with 
a firelocke, or Snaphaunse, headpeece, and a Target, onely the Serieant in Garrison 
shall use his Halbert, and in field his Snaphaunse and Target. 

For the Colony in Virginea Britannia. Lawes 
Divine, Mora// and Martial, &c. c. 1610- 1 1. 

9« Some Industrial Beginnings 

IT was expected that Virginia would yield a profit to Company and 
settlers and a search for profitable ventures was a dominating 
theme at Jamestown. Early in 1608 "masts [for ships], cedar 
["logs"], blacke wallnutt, clapboarde" and "Gould oare [gold ore] 
. . . which . . . proved dirt" were sent home. With the arrival of 
the Second Supply in the fall of 1608 effort was renewed with some 
success and additional proofs were sent home. 

Captaine Newport being dispatched with the tryals of pitch, tarre, glasse, 
frankincense and sope ashes, with that clapboard and wainscot [which] could bee 
provided, met with Mr. Scrivener at point Comfort, and so returned for 

En g land ' • • Proceedings 0/ the English Colony 

Many things were attempted. Among them were glassmaking and 

. . . the country wants not salsodiack enough to make glasse of, and of which we 
have made some stoore [store] in a goodly house sett up for the same purpose, with 
all offices and furnaces thereto belonging, a litle without the island, where James 
towne stands. . . Tfu HUtoHe j Travaik into Virginia 

Britannia by William Strachey 

The silke wormes sent thither from England, in seeds the last winter [1614], 
came forth many of them the beginning of March, others in Aprill, Maye and June, 
thousands of them grown to great bignesse, and a spinning, and the rest well 
thriving of their increase, and commodity well knowne to be reaped by them, we 
have almost assurance (since sure I am) no Country affordeth more store of 
Mulberry trees, or a kind with whose leafe they more delight, or thrive better. 

A True Discourse of the Present Estate 
of Virginia by Ralph Hamor 

10. Tobacco 

IT was in tobacco, thanks to the experimental efforts of fohn Rolfe, 
that Virginia found an economic basis that made the colony profit- 
able. Tobacco established an economy and directly and indirectly 
shaped many of the institutions in the colony. 

. . . the valuable commoditie of Tobacco of such esteeme in England (if there 
were nothing else) which every man may plant, and with the least part of his 
labour, tend and care will returne him both cloathes and other necessaries. For 
the goodnesse whereof, answerable to west-Indie Trinidado or Cracus (admit there 


hath no such bin returned) let no man doubt. Into the discourse whereof, 
since I am obviously entered, I may not forget the gentleman, worthie of such 
commendations, which first tooke the pains to to make triall thereof, his name 
Mr John Rolfe, Anno Domini 1612, partly for the love he hath a long time borne 
unto it, and partly to raise commodity to the adventurers, in whose behalfe I 
witnesse and vouschafe to holde my testimony in beleefe, that during the time 
of his aboade there, which draweth neere upon sixe yeeres, no man hath laboured 
to his power, by good example there and worthy incouragement into England 
by his letters, then he hath done, witnes his mariage with Powhatans daughter 
[Pocahontas] ... A True Discourse j the p resent Estate 

of Virginia by ralph hamor. 

By the time of Rolfe 's experiments the use of tobacco had not become 
universal in all quarters. There was some stubborn opposition to its 
development in Virginia. No one had stronger feeling on the subject 
than King fames I of England. In 1604 he had written: 

And surely in my opinion, there cannot be a more base, and yet hurtfull, 
corruption in a Countrey, then is the vile use (or other abuse) of taking Tobacco 
in this Kingdome, which hath mooved me, shortly to discover the abuses thereof 
in this following little Pamphlet. 

The pamphlet to which he referred was his a counterblaste to 
tobacco, which ended with a harsh warning: 

Have you not reason then to bee ashamed, and to forbeare this filthie noveltie, 
so basely grounded, so foolishly received and so grossely mistaken in the right 
use thereof? In your abuse thereof sinning against God, harming your selves 
both in persons and goods, and making also thereby the markes and notes of 
vanitie upon you: by the custome thereof making your selves to be wondered 
at by all forraine civil Nations, and by all strangers that come among you, to 
be scorned and contemned. A custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, 
harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume 
thereof, neerest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is 
bottomelesse. A Counterblaste to Tobacco by king james i 

Despite royal disapproval, opposition from other quarters, and 
competition from the regions already producing it, tobacco very soon 
became the economic cornerstone of Virginia. 

1 617 Captaine Hamar ... In March ... set saile 161 7. and in May he 
arrived at James towne ... In James towne he found . . . the market- 
place, and streets, and all other spare places planted with Tobacco . . . the 
Colonie dispersed all about, planting Tobacco. 

john smith, The Genera// Historie of Virginia . . . 


1619 All our riches for the present doe consiste in Tobacco, wherein one man by 
his owne labour hath in one yeare raised to himselfe to the value of 200L 
[pounds] sterling; and another by the meanes of sixe servants hath cleared 
at one crop a thousand pound English. letter by john pory, 1619. 

1623 At the end of theis 4 Yeares there is noe Comoditie but Tobaccoe, . . . 
An answere to a Declaration of the present state of Virginia. 

1626 We find that nothing hath hindred the proceedings of Artts Manuall 
trades, and staple comodities more then the want of mony amoungst us; 
which makes all men apply themselves to Tobacco, . . . (which is our 
money) . . . 


11. "James Towne," 1614 and 1616 

\ FTER years of bitter experience, the discovery of a method of 
±\. curing tobacco furnished famestown and Virginia a staple com- 
modity and assured the economic success of the venture. By 1614 the 
outlook had improved greatly. To the eyes of Ralph Hamor, in that 
year, at "fames Towne " there was progress and even prosperity. 

. . . fames towne scituate, upon a goodly and fertile Island: which although 
formerly scandoled with unhealthfull aire, we have since approued as healthfull 
as any other place in the country: and this I can say by mine own experience, 
that that corn and gardaine ground (which with much labour beeing when we 
first seated upon it, a thick wood) wee have cleered, and impaled, is as fertile as 
any other we have had experience and triall orT. The Towne it selfe by the care 
and providence of Sir Thomas Gates, who for the most part had his chiefest resi- 
dence there, is reduced into a hansome forme, and hath in it two faire rowes of 
howses, all of framed Timber, two stories, and an upper Garret, or Corne loft 
high, besides three large, and substantiall Storehowses, joyned togeather in 
length some hundred and twenty foot, and in breadth forty, and this town hath 
been lately newly, and strongly impaled, and a faire platforme for Ornance in the 
west Bulworke raised: there are also without this towne in the Island, some very 
pleasant, and beutifull howses, two Blockhouses to observe and watch least the 
Indians at any time should swim over the back river, and come into the Island, 
and certain other farme howses. 

The commaund and government of this towne, hath master fohn Scarpe, 
Liftenant to Captain Francis West, Brother to the right Honourable, the Lord 

A True Discourse of the Present Estate of Virginia by ralph hamor. 


Two years later, in 16/6, John Rolfe wrote of Jamestown and 

At James Towne . . . are 50 [people] under the commaund of Leiftenaunte 
Sharpe, in the absence of Captaine Frances West Esquire, Brother to the right 
Honorable the Lord Lawarre whereof 32 are Farmors. All these maintaine 
themselves with food and raiment. Mr. Richard Buck Minister there a verie 
good Preacher. 

[In all Virginia] . . . the number of Officers and Laborers are 205. The Farmors 
81 besides 6$ woemen and chilldren in every place some, which in all amounteth 
to 351 persons: a smale number to advaunce so greate a Worke. 

A True Relation of the State of 
Virginia by john rolfe 

12. The Beginnings of Home Rule 

IN 1 61 9 a deeply significant event took place at Jamestown. Due 
largely to the eforts of Sir Edwin Sandys, treasurer of the Virginia 
Company, the first legislative assembly in America convened in the 
church at Jamestown in the late summer of that year. This assembly 
contained the embryo of representative self-government. 

The most convenient place we could finde to sitt in was the Quire of the Churche 
Where Sir George Yeardley, the Governor, being sett downe in his accustomed 
place, those of the Counsel of Estate sate nexte him on both hands excepte onely 
the Secretary then appointed Speaker, who sate right before him, John Twine, 
clerke of the General assembly, being placed nexte the Speaker, and Thomas 
Pierse, the Sergeant, standing at the barre, to be ready for any service the 
Assembly shoulde comaund him. But forasmuche as men's affaires doe little 
prosper where God's service is neglected, all the Burgesses tooke their places 
in the Quire till a prayer was said by Mr. Bucke, the Minister, that it would 
please God to guide and sanctifie all our proceedings to his owne glory and the 
good of this Plantation. . . . 

Having convened, the assembly first passed on the eligibility of its 
members. Then attention was directed toward the "greate Charter, or 
commission of privileges, orders and laws, sent by Sir George Yeardley 
out of Englande." After study and debate the assembly passed several 
petitions, which if allowed, would clarify and supplement these docu- 
ments as well as bring them in better conformity with conditions in Vir- 
ginia. From the first the right of self-government was taken seriously. 
The thirde Petition humbly presented by this General Assembly to the Treas- 


urer, Counsell and Company is, that it may plainly be expressed in the great Com- 
ission (as indeed it is not) that the antient Planters of both sortes, viz., suche as 
before Sir Thomas Dales' depart were come hither upon their owne chardges, 
and suche also as were brought hither upon the Companie's coste, maye have 
their second, third and more divisions successively in as lardge and free manner 
as any other Planters. Also that they wilbe pleased to allowe to the male 
children, of them and of all others begotten in Virginia, being the onely hope of a 
posterity, a single share a piece, and shares for their issues or for themselves, 
because that in a newe plantation it is not knowen whether man or woman be more 
necessary. . . . 

The fifte Petition is to beseeche the Treasurer, Counsell and Company that, 
towards the erecting of the University and Colledge, they will sende, when they 
shall thinke it most convenient, workmen of all sortes, fitt for that purpose. 
The sixte and laste is, they wilbe pleased to change the savage name of Kic- 
cowtan, and to give that Incorporation a new name. . . . 

On August 2 attention was focused on the formulation of laws for the 
colony. Included among those proposed and enacted were measures 
looking to the correction of the people ', the economic welfare of the 
community y and the defense of the colony. 

First, in detestation of Idlenes be it enacted, that if any man be founde to live 
as an Idler or renagate, though a freedman, it shalbe lawful for that Incorpora- 
tion or Plantation to which he belongeth to appoint him a Mr to serve for wages, 
till he shewe apparent signes of amendment. . . 

About the plantation of Mulbery trees, be it enacted that every man as he is 
seatted upon his division, doe for seven yeares together, every yeare plante and 
maintaine in growte six Mulberry trees at the least, . . . 

Be it further ordained by this General Assembly, and we doe by these presents 
enacte, that all contractes made in England between the owners of the lande and 
their Tenants and Servantes which they shall sende hither, may be caused to be 
duely performed, and that the offenders be punished as the Governour and Counsell 
of Estate shall thinke just and convenient . . . 

That no man do sell or give any Indians any piece shott or poulder [powder], or 
any other armes, offensive or defensive upon paine of being held a Traytour to the 
Colony, and of being hanged as soon as the facte is proved, without all redemption. 

On August 4, after one last petition, the assembly was prorogued 
by the Governor. This petition, aiming as it did at the power to veto 
the company s laws, may easily have alarmed him. 

Their last humble suite is, that the said Counsell and Company would be pleased, 
so soon as they shall nnde it convenient, to make good their promise sett downe at 
the conclusion of their commission for establishing the Counsel of Estate and the 
General Assembly, namely, that they will give us power to allowe or disallowe of 

364815 0—56 3 


their orders of Courte, as his Majesty hath given them power to allowe or to 

reject our lawes. 

A Reporte of the manner of proceeding in the 
General assembly covented at fames City — 
July 30, 31, August 2-4, 1 61 9. 

13. A "Red Letter" Year 

The year 1619 was truly a milestone in the development of Virginia. 
The highlight, of course, was the convening of the Assembly yet there 
were other events long to be remembered. Provisions were made to 
stimulate family life when the Company took steps to send "Young 
maids to make wives for . . . the former Tenants'". The first of 
these were destined to reach Virginia in May and June, 1620. The 
Company was specific in its motives as the following excerpt from its 
minutes will show. 

Lastly he [Sir Edwin Sandys] wished that a fitt hundreth might be sent of 
woemen, Maides young and uncorrupt to make wifes to the Inhabitantes and by 
that meanes to make the men there more setled & lesse moveable who by defect 
thereof (as is credibly reported) stay there but to gett something and then to 
returne for England, which will breed a dissolucon, and so an overthrow of the 
Plantacon. These woemen if they marry to the publiq Farmors, to be transported 
at the charges of the Company; If otherwise, then those that takes them to wife 
to pay the said Company their charges of transportacon, and it was never fitter 
time to send them then nowe. 

Minutes of the Virginia Company of London, November, 1619. 

Also in 1619 a number of Negroes arrived in the colony. These 
were the first Negroes to be brought to Virginia and were the fore- 
runners of the system of slavery that began to evolve late in the seven- 
teenth century. 

About the letter end of August, a Dutch man of Warr of the burden of a 160 
tunes arrived at Point-Comfort, the ComandoRs name Capt Jope, his Pilott for 
the West Indies one Mr Marmaduke an Englishman. They mett with the Trer 
[another ship] in the West Indyes, and determyned to hold consort shipp hether- 
ward, but in their passage lost one the other. He brought not any thing but 20. 
and odd Negroes, which the GovernoR and Cape Marchant bought for victualles 
(Whereof he was in greate need as he pretended) at the best and easyest rates 
they could. He hadd a lardge and ample comyssion from his Excellency to range 
and to take purchase in the West Indyes. 

JANUARY l620. 


14. The Massacre of 1622 

THE steady growth of the colony continued until March 1622, 
when an Indian massacre swept through the outlying settle- 
ments. Its force was felt everywhere ', even in those sections, James- 
town among them, that the Indians did not reach. 

. . . But since our last by the George dated in Januarie 1621 itt hath pleased God 
for our manyfo[ld] sinns to laye a most lamentable Afflictione uppon this Plantacon, 
by the trecherie of the Indyans, who on the 22th of march laste, attempted in 
most places, under the Coulor of unsuspected amytie, in some by Surprize, to 
have cutt us off all and to have Swept us away at once through owte the whole 
lande, had it nott plesed god of his abundante mercy to prevent them in many 
places, for which we can never sufficyently magnifie his blessed name, Butt yet 
they prevayled soe farr, that they have massacred in all partes above three hundred 
men women and Children, and have, since nott only spoyled and slaine Divers of 
our Cattell, and some more of our People, and burnte most of the Howses we have 
forsaken, but have alsoe enforced us to quitt many of our Plantacons, . . . 


Jamestown was spared the destruction that came to the more out- 
lying sections of the colony because of the loyalty of an Indian that 
had been befriended by one of the settlers. 

That the slaughter had beene uniuersall, if God had not put it into the heart 
of an Indian belonging to one Perry, to disclose it . . . Perries Indian [who 
living in the house of one Pace] rose out of his bed and reveales it to Pace that 
used him as a Sonne . . . Pace upon this discouery, securing his house, before 
day rowed over the River to James-City (in that place neere three miles in bredth) 
and gave notice thereof to the Governor, by which meanes they were prevented 
there, and at such other Plantations as was possible for a timely intelligence to 
be giuen; for where they saw us standing upon our Guard, at the sight of a Peece 
they all ranne away. 

edward waterhouse, A Declaration of the state of the 
Colonie and . . . a Relation of the barbarous Massacre . . . 

15. George Sandys 

IN 162 1 the Virginia Company found it necessary to set up a new 
office — a resident treasurer — in the colony to look after financial 
matters and to direct and to supervise the development of staple com- 
modities. George Sandys, brother of Sir Edwin Sandys, was named 
to this post. 



Portrait of George Sandys, Poet and Resident Treasurer of the Virginia Colony. 


The Massacre of 1622 which swept through the outlying settlements but did not 
reach Jamestown. This representation of the Indian massacre was published in 
De Bry's Voyages in 1634. 


And forasmuch as ther hath ben in theise late yeares great fault or defect in 
nott putting in execucon our orders of court and counsell for the setting upp & 
upholding those staple Comodities which are necessarie for the subsisting and 
Encrease of the Plantation which hath happned in part by the our [order] Charge- 
ing the Governor with toe much buissnes, wee have uppon espetiall approvement 
of the industry and sufficiency of George Sandis esquire as also for his faithfullnes 
and plenaire intelligence of our intendments and counsells here (wherunto hee hath 
from time to tyme bein privie, not only elected and athorised him to bee Treasurer 
in Virginia, butt also committed to his spetiall and extreordinarie care the execu- 
tion of all our orders Charters and instructions tending to the setting upp, En- 
crease and maytaininge of the said Staple Comodities: 



George Sandys, a man of much energy, tried his hand at many 
enterprises while in Virginia, not the least among them being the 
translation of Ovid's metamorphoses into English poetry. Much of 
this work he did at Jamestown, where his duties as treasurer and 
councilor confined him most of the time. 

The program, which he directed, for the introduction and develop- 
ment of "Staple Comodities''' {iron, ship building, silk, glass, etc.) 
was not rewarded with a high degree of success. Virginia was, as 
yet, not able to maintain these enterprises, as the report of the glass 
project indicates. 

The ill successe of the glasse workes is allmost equall unto this [that of the ship- 
wrights]: first the covering of the house, ere fully finished, was blowne downe, 
by a tempest noe sooner repaired but the Indians came uppon us, which for a 
while deferd the proceedinges. Then they built up the furnace, which after one 
forthnight that the fire was put in, flew in peeces; yet the wife of one of the 
Italians (whom I have now sent home, haveinge receaved many wounds from her 
husband at severall times, & murder not otherwise to bee prevented, for a more 
damned crew hell never vomited) reveald in her passion that Vincentio crackt it 
with a crow of iron: yet dare wee not punish theise desperat fellowes, least the 
whole dessigne through theire stubbornesse should perish. The summer cominge 
on, Capt: Notron dyed with all saveinge one of his servants, & hee nothinge 
worth: The Italians fell extremely sicke: yet recoveringe in the beginninge of the 
winter, I hyred some men for that service, assisted them with mine owne, rebuilt 
the furnace, ingaged my selfe for provisions for them, & was in a manner a servant 
unto them. The fier hath now beene six weekes in the furnace, and yett nothinge 
effected, They complaine that the sand will not run. (though themselves made 
choise thereof, and likt it then well enought) & now I am sendinge up the river 
to provide them with better, if it bee to bee had. but I conceave that they would 

r 18] 

gladly make the worke to appeare unfeasable, that they might by that meanes 
be dismissed for England. 

MARCH, 1622/3. 

16. "New Towne" 

IN spite of the failure of premature manufacturing enterprises, 
Jamestown continued to develop. In 1623 and 1624 a new area 
was opened in the town. This section, "New Towne ," for a time was 
one of the leading parts of the "Citty." Land grants in the "New 
Towne" such as that to Ralph Hamor in 1624, give some description 
of this area. 

. . I Sir Francis Wyatt Knight Governor and CapT Generall of Virginia doe with 
the consent of the Councell of State give and graunt unto Ralph Hamor Esqr 
and one of the said Councell of State and to his heires and assignes for ever for 
the better conveniencie and more Comoditie of his howses by him Erected and 
builded in the New Towne within the precincts of James Citty one acre and a 
halfe of ground lying and being about his said howse and abutting Southward 
upon the high way along the banke of the maine river Northward upon the 
backstreete Eastward upon the high way which parteth it from the ground of 
Georg Menefey Merchant Westward partly upon the ground of Richard Steephens 
Merchant and upon the ground alsoe of John Chew Merchant the said ground of 
one acre and a halfe partly belonging unto his foresaid howse already built & 
partely unto a howse hereafter to bee built by him in the backstreete . . . 


17. The Virginia Census of 1625 

IN the winter of 1624I1625 a census was taken for Virginia. This 
census included population, buildings, provisions, livestock, and 
armaments. It showed that at "James Cittie," not including the 
island outside of the town, there were 124 persons {adults, children, 
servants, and Negroes), 22 houses, 3 stores, and a church. There were 
provisions of corn, fish, peas, beans, and meal, and 9 boats, one of 
them a barque of 40 tons. The town could boast of 181 cattle, 1 
horse, 209 swine, and 121 goats. Arms and ammunition included 
4 pieces of mounted ordnance, 92 small arms, 60 swords, 27 "Ar- 
mours" 79 coats of mail, and 16 quilted coats. A section from the 
"James Citty 1 ' muster reads: 



' ! . 



In September 1941 this seventeenth century tile and brick kiln was uncovered 
at Jamestown. In this kiln building materials for the town were made. 



These articles were found during archeological excavations at Jamestown. Left 
to right from the upper corner these are: an early wine bottle, graffito slipware 
pitcher, stoneware mug, plaster ornament, clay pipe, iron key, brass spigot, 
perfume bottle, glass goblet, silver spoon, bone-handle knife, iron "H" hinge, 
delftware dish, graffito slipware plate, Dutch fireplace tile, and iron hoe. 


James Citty The Muster of the Inhabitants of James Cittie 

taken the 24TH of January 1624 [1625] 
The Muster of Sr. Francis Wyatt Kt &c 
Sr Francis Wyatt Kt Governor &c. came [to Virginia] in 
the [Ship] George 1621 


Christopher Cooke aged 25 in the George 1621 
Georg Hall aged 13 in the Suply 1620 
Jonathan Giles 21 in the Triall 161 9 
John Matheman 19 in the Jonathan 161 9 
Jane Davis 24 in the Abigaile 1622 

Corne 10 barrells 

fish 4000 

Powder 20 lbs 

Lead and Shott 180 lbs 

Snaphannce Peecs 6 

Armours 6 

Cowes 6 

Bull 1 

Yearelings and Calves 3 

Horse 1 

breeding Sowes 6 

Yong Swine 14 

Dwelling house 1 

Store 1 

Belongeing to James Citty 

Church 1 

A Large Court of Guard 1 

Peecs of Ordnaunce Mounted 4 

Quilted Coats 16 

Coates of Male 77 

the rest dispersed in the Cuntrie 

The Virginia Census of 1624/ 1625. 

18. The End o-f the Virginia Company 

FOR a number oj years before 1624. there was definite dissatisfaction 
with the policies and work of the Virginia Company of London. 
The movement gained momentum in England and in Virginia. This 
agitation culminated in the revocation of the company charter in 1624. 
With this Virginia became a royal colony directly under the Crown. 


// was on August 26, 1624, that King James I issued a statement 
setting forth the dissolution. 

And whereas our Commissioners after much care and paines expended in 
execucion of our said Commissioners did certifie us that our subjects and people 
sent to enhabite there and to plant themselves in that Country were most of them 
by Gods visitacions sicknes of bodie famine and by massacres of them by the 
native savages of the land dead and deceased and those that were living of them 
lived in necessitie and want and in danger by the savages but the Country for 
anie thing that appeared to the said Commissioners to the contr[ar]y they con- 
ceaved to be fruitfull and healthfull after our people had bin sometyme there, And 
that if industry were used it would produce divers good and staple comodities 
though in the sixteene yeares government past it had yealded fewe or none, And 
that this neglecte they conceaved must fall on the governors and companie here 
whoe had power to direct the plantacions . . . But because the said Treasurer 
and Companie did not submit their charters to be reformed our proceedings therein 
were stayed for a tyme untill uppon a quo warranto brought and a legall and 
judiciall proceeding therin by due course of laws the said charters were and nowe 
are and stand avoyded, and because wee were and are still resolved to proceed 
unto the perfecting of that worke which wee have begunne for the good of the said 
plantacion by a newe Charter to be made in such manner as shalbe found most 
an convenien . . . commission to sir francis wyatt, governor. 

AUGUST 26, 1624. 

19. The Port of Jamestown 

UNDER the royal government Virginia continued to expand 
and develop. Jamestown remained the capital, but the life 
of the colony flowed out into the ever growing tobacco plantations. 
Economic conditions did not make for the growth of cities, but eforts 
to foster the development of Jamestown continued. Such was the 
attempt to center trade there in 1631-32. 

[Enacted by the Assembly:] 

That every shipp arivinge in this colony from England, or any other parts, 
shall, with the first winde and weather, sayle upp to the porte of James Citty and 
not to unlade any goods or breake any bulke before she shall cast anchor there, 
uppon payne that the captayne artd mayster of the sayd shipp shall forfeite the 
sayd goods or the value thereof, and shall have and suffer one mounthes imprison- 
ment; ... /- / 



20. Brick Houses 

IN spite of expectations, Jamestown was never large and occupied 
only a section of the west end of the Island. In the town dwelt the 
Governor, some of the colonial officials, innkeepers, merchants, and 
citizens. Most of the residents had gardens, usually enclosed by 
palings, with vegetables, fruits, and vines. 

In 1 63 8-1 639 however, the Governor held high hopes for the future of 
the town. Governor Harvey wrote to the English authorities empha- 
sizing the new construction activity that was afoot. 

. . there are twelve houses and stores built in the Towne, one of brick by the 
Secretayre, the fairest that ever was knowen in this countrye for substance and 
uniformitye, by whose example others have undertaken to build framed howses 
to beautifye the place, consonant to his majesties Instruction that wee should not 
suffer men to build slight cottages as heretofore. 

Such hath bene our Indeavour herein that out of our owne purses wee have 
Largely contributed to the building of a brick church, and both masters of shipps 
and others of the ablest Planters have liberally by our persuasion underwritten to 
this work. A Levye likewyse by his majesties commands is raised for the building 
of a State howse at James Cittie, and shall with all diligence be performed. Wee 
beseech your Lordship favour to the Information. 

There was not one foote of ground for half a mile together by the Rivers syde 
in James Towne but was taken up and undertaken to be built before your Lordship 
order arrived commanding that until stores [storehouses] were built all men should 
be permitted to Land theire goods in such places as should be for theire owne 
conveniencye. letter from the governor and council in 


21. Governor Harvey Deposed 

VIRGINIANS were quick to develop the will to manage their own 
affairs. Such was shown at Jamestown when, in 1635, John 
Harvey, the Royal Governor, was deposed temporarily. Because of his 
oppressive and tyrannical administration he had won the ill will of the 
burgesses and councilors who forced him to return to England to face 
charges lodged against him. Even though the King reappointed him 
for a time, this deposition is witness that the spirit of independence and 
initiative was at work in the colony. Samual Mathews, a leader of 
the opposition against Harvey, wrote an account of this affair. 


I have made bold to present you with divers passages concerning our late 
governor by the hands of my worthy friend Sir John Zouch. But such was the 
miserable condition wee lived in that it dayly gives just occasion of new com- 
plaints which I doe hereby- presume to acquaint you withall, which I beseech 
you to creditt as they are true in every particular. Sir, you may please to take 
notice that ... Sir John Harvie . . . [had detained] Letters to his Majestie 
and Lords and others concerning a contract, . . . They had heard him in open 
court revile all the councell and tell them they were to give their attendance as 
assistants onely to advise with him, which if liked of should pass, otherwise the 
power lay in himselfe to dispose of all matters as his Majesties substitute. Next 
that he had reduced the colony to a great straight by complying with the Mary- 
landers . . . Sir, these and infinite number of perticular mens injuries, were the 
grounds of their greife and the occasion of the Petition and Letter that they 
exhibited to the councell for some speedy redress of these evills which would 
otherwise ruine the Colony. 

The next meeting [of the Council] in a most sterne manner he demanded the 
reason that wee conceived of the countreye's Petition against him. Mr. Menefee 
made answer, the chiefest cause was the detayning of the Letters to his Majestie 
and the Lords. Then he rising in a great rage sayd to Mr. Menefee; and do you 
say soe? He replied, yes: presently the governor in a fury went and striking 
him on the shoulder as hard as I can imagine he could said, I arrest you of sus- 
picion of Treason to his Majestie. Then Captain Utie being neare said, and 
wee the like to you sir. Whereupon I seeing him in a rage, tooke him in my 
armes and said: Sir, there is no harm intended against you save only to acquaint 
you with the grievances of the Inhabitants and to that end I desire you to sitt 
downe in youre chayre ... A L£TT£R WRITTEN BY SAMUAL MATHEW s. 

MAY 25, 1635. 

Harvey, himself, has described his deposition. 

That upon pretence of this petition thus by themselves contrived, they caused 
an Assembly of the Countrey to be called, who mett at James Towne, upon the 
seaventh day of May last, and there and in severall other places they made 
Proclamation that if any man could say ought against Sir John Harvey he should 
be heard. And the said councellors then chose Mr. John West Yor Governor, 
who thereupon tooke the place and title of Governor upon him, and gave orders 
and directions as Governor. declaration of sir john harvey. 

22. The Cromwellian Commonwealth 

THE Cromwellian wars, the execution of Charles /, and the Com- 
monwealth government in England did not affect Virginia 
seriously. Even though Virginia remained essentially loyal to the 


Crown and to the Anglican Churchy in March 1652 the colony sub- 
mitted to the authority of the Parliament of England. It was not until 
1661 that the royal authority was renewed. In the interim the Gover- 
nor ; as well as the council and other officers, was selected in the colony 
itself. The articles of surrender reflect the real spirit of the colony s 
submission to the Commonwealth. 

ARTICLES agreed on and concluded at James Cittie in Virginia for the sur- 
rendering and settling of that plantation under the obedience and government of 
the Common Wealth of England . . . 

It is agreed and consented that the plantation of Virginia, and all the inhabitants 
thereof, shall be and remaine in due obedience and subjection to the common 
wealth of England, according to the lawes there established, And that this sub- 
mission and subscription bee acknowledged a voluntary act not forced nor con- 
strained by a conquest upon the countrey, And that they shall have and enjoy 
such freedomes and priviledges as belong to the free borne people of England, and 
that the former government by the commissions and instructions be void and null. 
. . . that the Grand Assembly as formerly shall convene and transact the affairs 
of Virginia, wherein nothing is to be acted or done contrarie to the government 
of the common wealth of England and the lawes there established. 

. . . That there shall be a full and totall remission and indempnitie of all acts, 
words or writeings done or spoken against the parliament of England in relation 
to the same. 

. . . That Virginia shall be free from all taxes, customes and impositions what- 
soever, and none to be imposed on them without consent of the Grand Assembly, 
And so that neither Forts nor castles bee erected or garrisons maintained without 
their consent. 

. . . That all goods allreadie brought hither by the Dutch or others which are 
now on shoar shall be free from surprisall. 

. . . That neither Governour nor councill shall be obliged to take any oath or 
engagement to the Common-Wealth of England for one whole yeare And that 
neither Governour nor Councill be censured for praying for or speaking well of 
the King for one whole yeare in their private houses or neighbouring conference. 

. . . That there be sent home at the present Governour's choice to give an 
accompt to his Majestie of the surrender of his countrey, the present Governour 
bearing his charges, that is Sir William Berkeley. 

. . . That all persons that are now in this collonie of what quality or condition 
soever that have served the King here or in England shall be free from all dangers, 
punishment or mulkt whatsoever, here or elsewhere, and this article as all other 
articles bee in as cleer termes as the learned in the law of arms can express. 

Journal of the House of Burgesses, 1 652 


23. The Town Act of 1662 

WITH the ascension of Charles II to the throne as King of 
England, and with the resumption of royal authority in 
Virginia, renewed efforts were made to maintain James City as the 
principal town of the colony. Legislative enactments in 1662 were 
framed with this in mind. Instructions were outlined to guide new 
and compulsory development in the town. 

WHEREAS his sacred majestie by his instructions hath enjoyned us to build a 
towne, to which though our own conveniencies of profit and securitie might urge us, 
yett encouraged by his majesties royall commands, to which in dutie wee are all 
bound to yeild a most readie obedience, this grand assembly takeing into their seri- 
ous consideration the best meanes of effecting it have in reference thereto enacted. 

First. That a towne be built at James Citty as being the most convenient 
place in James River, and alreadie best fitted for the entertainment of workemen 
that must be employed in the work. 

That the towne to be built shall consist of thirty two houses, each house to be 
built with brick, forty foot long, twenty foot wide, within the walls, to be eighteen 
foote high above the ground, the walls to be two brick thick to the water table, 
and a brick and a halfe thick above the water table to the roofe, the roofe to be 
fifteen foote pitch and to be covered with slate or tile. 

2dly. {b) That the houses shall be all regularly placed one by another in a 
square or such other forme as the honorable Sir William Berkeley shall appoint 
most convenient . . . every one building a brick house as aforesaid shall have 
ground assigned him to build a store on, and shall have the proprietie of the said 
store and house to him and his heires for ever; and because stores which are built 
att little cost are likely to produce the greatest benefitt, it is further enacted that noe 
person or persons but such as build houses as aforesaid shall have the priviledges 
to build stores [storehouses]. . . . 

And though in the infancy of this designe it might seem hard to demolish any 
wooden houses already built in the towne, yett it is hereby provided and enacted 
that noe wooden houses shall hereafter be built within the limitts of the towne, 
nor those now standing be hereafter repaired, but brick ones to be erected in theire 

ste An Act of the Virginia Assembly. December 1662. 

24. The Town and Its Government— 1676 

DESPITE repeated efforts, Jamestown did not become the metrop- 
olis which had been hoped for. This can be seen from the 
extant descriptions of the town. On the eve of Bacon s Rebellion one 
writer recorded that: 


. . . The Towne is built much about the midle of the Sowth line, close upon the 
River, extending east and west, about 3 quarters of a mile; in which is compre- 
hended som 16 or 18 houses, most as is the church built of brick, faire and large; 
and in them about a dozen familes (for all the howses are not inhabited) getting 
their liveings by keeping ordnaries, at extreordinary rates. 

A Narrative of the Indian and Civil Wars in 
Virginia in the Years 1675 and 1676. 

In 1676 the assembly established limits for Jamestown and provided 
for its government. 

[Enacted by the Assembly] . . . that the bounds of James Cittie include 
the whole island as farr as Sandy Bay, and that from henceforth the burgess or 
burgesses that shall be hereafter chosen to serve for the said Citty be elected by 
the majoritie of votes of the housekeepers, freeholders and freemen, as are at the 
time of such election listed within the bounds aforesaid, and soe liable to pay levies 
there, . . . and further, that the householders and freeholders have full power, 
and hereby be authorised, between this and the next assembly to make such good 
and convenient by laws as they shall think fitt, provided that the said bylaws 
intrench not upon the privileges of James City county or any other county in 
the country. Act of the Assembly) l6y6 , 

25. Bacon's Rebellion 

RESSENTMENT against the ''closed corporation' government of 
the Royal Governor, Sir William Berkeley, and the ravages of 
the Indians on the frontier reached a peak in 1676, when rebellion 
broke out in Virginia led by Nathaniel Bacon, Junior. Bacon forced 
the Governor to grant him a commission to fight the Indians, and later, 
because of high-handed measures on the part of the Governor, he 
turned against Berkeley. In "The Declaration of the People" Bacon 
summed up the reasons for his opposition to the Government. 

For having upon specious pretences of Publick works raised unjust Taxes upon 
the Commonalty for the advancement of private Favourits and other sinnister 
ends but noe visible effects in any measure adequate. 

For not having dureing the long time of his Government in any measure ad- 
vanced this hopefull Colony either by Fortifications, Townes or Trade. 

For having abused and rendered Contemptible the Majesty of Justice, of ad- 
vancing to places of judicature scandalous and Ignorant favourits. 

For having wronged his MaATiES Prerogative and Interest by assuming the 
monopoley of the Beaver Trade . . . 

For haveing protected favoured and Imboldened the Indians against his Majes- 
tys most Loyall subjects never contriveing requireing or appointing any due or 


proper meanes of satisfaction for their many Invasions Murthers and Robberies 
Committed upon us . . . 

For having with only the privacy of some few favourits without acquainting 
the People, only by the Alteration of a Figure forged a Commission by wee know 
not what hand, not only without but against the Consent of the People, for 
raising and effecting of Civill Warrs and distractions, which being happily and, 
without Bloodshedd prevented . . . 

Of these the aforesaid Articles wee accuse Sir William Berkely, as guilty of 
each and every one of the same, and as one, who hath Traiterously attempted, 
violated and Injured his Majesties Interest here, by the losse of a great Part of his 
Colony, and many of his Faithfull and Loyall subjects by him betrayed, and 
in a barbarous and shamefull manner exposed to the Incursions and murthers 
of the Heathen. 

by Nathaniel bacon, junior. The Declaration of the People 

It was not until September 1676 that actual hostilities reached 
Jamestown. Bacon then advanced against the town as the head- 
quarters oj the Governor and his party. 

In the evening Bacon with his Small tired Body of men, his Forlorne marching 
some distance before, comes into Paspahayes old Fields [across the isthmus from 
Jamestown Island] and advancing on horseback himselfe on the Sandy Beech 
before the Towne comands the Trumpet to sound, Fires his carbyne, dismounts, 
surveys the Ground and orders a French [a trench] worke to be cast up. 

All this night is spent in falling of Trees, Cutting of Bushes and throwing up 
Earth, that by the help of the moone light they had made their French [trench] 
before day, although they had but two axes and 2 spades in all to performe this 
work with. 

About day-break next morning six of Bacons Soldiers ran up to the Pallasadees 
of the Towne and Fired briskly upon the Guard, retreating Safely without any 
damage at first (as is reported) the Governor gave Comand that not a Gun 
should be fired against Bacon or his party upon paine of death, pretending to be 
loath to spill bloode and much more to be Beginner of it. . . . 

Having planted his great Guns, hee [Bacon] takes the wives and female Relations 
of such Gentlemen as were in the Governor's Service against him . . . and Places 
them in the Face of his Enemy, as Bulworkes for their Battery . . . 

[Sr. Wm. Berkeley] . . . was at last over persuaded, nay hurryed away against 
his owne Will to Accomack and forced to leave the Towne to the mercy of the 
enemy . . . 

Bacon haveing early Intelligence of the Governor and his Party's Quitting the 
Towne the night before, enters it without any opposition, and soldier like consid- 
ering of what importance a Place of the Refuge was, . . . instantly resolves to 
lay it level with the ground, and the same night he became possessed of it, sett 
Fire to Towne, church and state house (wherein were the Countryes Records 
which Drummond had privately convey'd thence and preserved from Burning). 

The towne consisted of 12 new brick Houses besides a considerable number of 
Frame houses with brick chimneys, all which will not be rebuilt (as is computed) 
for Fifteen hundred pounds of Tobacco. 

A True narrative of bacon's rebellion. 

26. Jamestown— In the Balance 

BACON'S Rebellion came to an end with the death of Nathaniel 
Bacon, Junior, in October 1676. The movement collapsed due to 
the lack of leadership, and the royal authority of Berkeley was resumed. 
Eventually, however, it cost the Governor his post. This Rebellion 
revealed the trend of Virginia history in the late seventeenth century, 
and constituted a precedent for opposition to unpopular and oppressive 

Bacon s destruction of Jamestown in September 1676 was quite 
complete and it prompted the House of Burgesses to consider moving 
the capital to a new location. 

It is hereby ordered, that whereas the state house being now Burnt downe 
by . . . Nathaniel Bacon the younger, and allso the houses in James City And for 
as much as Tyndalls [Gloucester] poynte is supposed and accompted, to bee the 
most Convenient place for the Accomodation of the Country, in general to meet 
att, that therefore the state house for the time to Come, Bee Built att Tindalls 

Journal of the House of Burgesses, 1676. 

27. The Last Statehouse 

THE recommendation to move the capital, as was the case with 
earlier proposals of a similar nature, was not accepted. Later, 
royal instructions provided for the rebuilding of Jamestown. Even- 
tually, normal functions were resumed and a statehouse — the last for 
Jamestown — was erected. 

[December 4, 1685] 

By the House of Burgesses. 


That Mr Auditor Bacon [Nathaniel Bacon, Senior] pay to Col Phillip Ludwell 
fouer hundred pounds Sterl out of the moneys accruing from the duty of three 
pence per gallon upon liquors, for and in consideration of rebuilding the state house, 1 

1 The foundations of this structure are visible at Jamestown today. 


upon payment of which money Mr Auditor is desired to take bond from Col. 
Ludwel 'for the full compleating of the said house, in such manner, as shall be fully 
satisfactory to his Excellency, the Councel and the house of Burgesses, answerably 
good and equivalent to the condition for the same. 

His Excellencies and the Councels concurrence here is desired by the house 

Test Robert Beverley Clerk Assembly 

Resolved by the house, that the room in the state house, called the Porch 
Chamber be kept and approporiated an office for the Clerk of the Assembly and that 
Robert Beverley the present Clerk take possession thereof and therein lodge and 
place all Records, Books and Papers belonging to the Assembly, which either now 
are or for the time to come shall be committed to his charge, keeping or custody. 

Ordered that this resolve of the house be sent to his Excellency & the Councel 
with the requests of his house for their concurrence therein. 

Proposed by the house, that the lower room in the state house opposite to the 
Court house room be with all possible expedition fitted for the secretaries office 
in such manner, as his Excellency and the Councel shal direct, and this House doe 
pray his Excellency will please to Command and direct the doing thereof, and that 
the Honorable Col Ludwel be treated with about it. 

Legislative Journals of the Council of 

Colonial Virginia 

28. Jamestown Abandoned as the Seat of 


In October, 1698 a disastrous fire destroyed the statehouse at James- 
town. Thus, as had been the case when three earlier statehouse s 
burned, it was necessary to rent space in private homes and elsewhere 
for the Assembly session in 1699. // was at this session, on May 18, 
that the House of Burgesses initiated action that led to the removal of 
the seat of government from Jamestown where it had been for 92 years. 

The House (according to the Order of the day) Resolved itself into a Committee 
of the whole House to take into further Consideration and Debate the matters 
referred to this Day relateing to the Building a State House, and Mr. Cary took the 
Chaire and after some time spent therein Mr. Speaker resumed the Chaire and Mr. 
Cary reported from the said Committee That they had come to a Resolution 
therein which he read in his place and afterwards delivered in at the Table where 
the same were read as followeth 

This Committee having maturely considered and fully debated the matters 
to them referred relateing to the place for Erecting and building a State house 
after the nomination of Several places. 




Resolved That the said State house be built at the Middle Plantation. 

Ordered That Mr. Custis, Mr. Bassett, Mr. Robinson & Mr. Talliaferro do forth- 
with wait upon the Council and acquaint them that the House have had in 
Debate and under their Consideration the place for building a State house, and 
have resolved that the said Statehouse be built at the Middle Plantation to which 
the House desires their Honors Concurrence. 

Journals of the House of Burgess 

Soon the various agencies of the Government, together with the 
records, were being moved to the new capital in Williamsburg only 
six miles from Jamestown. 

[December 17, 1700.] 

Resolved, [by the House of Burgesses] 

That the Records of this Government, which stil remaine at James City, be, 
with all Convenient Expedition, removed from thence to the place Appointed for 
Keeping the Secretary's office in his Majesties Royal Colledge of William and 
Mary, Adjacent to the City of Williamsburgh, according to the petition of Edmund 
Jennings, Esquire, Deputy Secretary, made to his Excellency and the honorable 
Council in that respect. 


That the Records and papers belonging to this house and now lodged at James 
City, be, with all Convenient Expedition, removed from thence and placed in 
the Chamber appointed for the Clerk of this house in his Majesties Royal Colledge 
of William & Mary, adjacent to the city of Williamsburg. 

That a Message be sent to the Councill to desire their Concurrence to the 
Resolves of this house, touching the removal of the Records belonging to the 
Secretary's office and to this house. . . . His Excellency & his Majesties honorable 
Councill concurr [December 1 8] with the house of Burgesses in the above Resolves. 

Calendar of Virginia State Papers. 

29. Jamestown Declines 

JAMESTOWN, capital and leading town in Virginia since 1607, 
had now lost its place in the affairs of the colony. Virginia was a 
growing, prosperous region. The opening of the interior, the seating 
of better town sites, local conditions at Jamestown, the search for new 
land, and the development of tobacco plantations with a localized trade 
system all played a part in the decline. After a century of service the 
life of Jamestown ebbed out to other areas. 

1 33 

Following the departure of the Government in 1700, decline was 
swift. Many residents forsook the town and business began to dis- 
appear. Hugh Jones, describing the "Present State of Virginia" in 
the early part of the eighteenth century, presented a picture of James- 
town in decline. 

THE first Metropolis, James Town, was built in the most convenient Place for 
Trade and Security against the Indians, but often received much Damage, being 
twice burnt down; after which it never recovered its Perfection, consisting at 
present of nothing but Abundance of Brick Rubbish, and three or four good 
inhabited Houses, tho' the Parish is of pretty large Extent, but less than others. 
When the State House and Prison were burnt down, Governor Nicholson removed 
the Residence of the Governor, with the Meeting of General Courts and General 
Assemblies to Middle Plantation, seven Miles from James Town, in a healthier and 
more convenient Place, and freer from the Annoyance of Muskettoes. 

Present State of Virginia by hugh jones. 

Some fifty years later, at the time of the American Revolution, 
Jamestown had ceased altogether to function as a town. Even the 
isthmus that had connected it with the mainland was now fully 
broken. Lord Cornwallis, en route to Portsmouth and then to York- 
town, in July 1781, forded into the Island. Two months later came 
French troops en route to join Washington 's allied army for its climatic 
assault on the British at Yorktown. One of these French soldiers, 
Chevalier UAncteville, wrote graphically of the shambles that marked 
the physical end of the town of Jamestown. 

The enemy [the British] a short time before had quitted this post and had left 
there ineffacable vestiges of his presence. This little town, one of the oldest in 
America, had been destroyed for the most part. One finds there ruins, the debris 
of conflagrations, tombs overturned, other fine monuments broken, [and] a church 
partly thrown down . . . "Journal of the Chesapeake Campaign" 



Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts ', /6j2- 

ij8i. Edited by William P. Palmer and others. Vol. I. 

Richmond, 1875. 
Council of Colonial Virginia, Legislative Journals. Edited by H. R. 

Mcllwaine. Vol. I. Richmond, 191 8. 
D'Ancteville, Chevalier. "Journal of the Chesapeake Campaign". 

(Typescript in the library of Colonial National Historical Park, 

Yorktown, Va.) 
Force, Peter, ed. Tracts and Other Papers. Vols. I and III. Wash- 
ington, 1836, 1844. 
Hamor, Ralph. A True Discourse of the Present Estate of Virginia. 

(A reprint of the London edition of 161 5: n. d., n. p.). 
Hening, William Waller, ed. Statutes at Large Being a Collection of 

all the Laws of Virginia. Vol. I. Richmond, 1809, Vol. 2, New 

York, 1823. 
House of Burgesses of Virginia, Journals. Edited by H. R. 

Mcllwaine. Vols. I, II and III. Richmond, 1913-1915. 
Jones, Hugh. The Present State of Virginia. (Reprint of the 

London edition of 1724: New York, 1865). 
Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections. 2nd Series, Vol. I. 

Boston, 1838. 
Patent Book No. i, Virginia State Land Office, Richmond, Va. 
Rait, Rubert S., ed. A Royal Rhetorician .... New York, 

Rolfe, John. A True Relation of the State of Virginia [161 6]. New 

Haven, Conn., 1951. 
Smith, Capt. John. Works. Edited by Edward Arber. Edin- 
burgh, 1 910. 2 vols. 
Strachey, William. The Historie of Travaile into Virginia Britannia. 

Edited by R. H. Minor. London, 1849. 
Swem, Earl G. The Virginia Historical Index. Roanoke, Va., 

Tyler, Lyon G., ed. Narratives of Early Virginia 1606-1625. 

New York, 1907. 
Tyler s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine. Vol. III. 

Richmond, 1922. 


Virginia Census 0/1625, in Public Record Office, London, England. 
(Photostatic copy in hands of George C. Gregory, Richmond, Va.) 

Virginia Company of London, Records. Edited by Susan Myra 
Kingsbury. Volumes I, II, and IV. Washington, 1906-1935. 

Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Vols. I-IV. Rich- 
mond, 1 893-1 897. 

William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine. 2nd 
Series, Vol. VIII. 1928. 



Commemorating the Spanish Phase of Colonial American History 

Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monuments, St. Augustine, 

Cabrillo National Monument, near San Diego, Calif. 
Gran Quivira National Monument, near Mountainair, N. Mex. (Ruins of an 

early Spanish mission.) 
Tumacacori National Monument, near Tucson, Ariz. (Spanish mission ruins.) 
Coronado National Memorial, near Bisbee, Ariz. 
San Jose Mission National Historic Site, San Antonio, Tex. 1 2 

Commemorating the French Phase of Colonial American History 

Fort Caroline National Memorial, near Jacksonville, Fla. 

Commemorating the English Phase of Colonial American History 

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Roanoke Island, N. C. 3 

Jamestown National Historic Site, Jamestown Island, Va. 2 4 

Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown, Va. 5 

George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Westmoreland County, Va. 6 

Fort Frederica National Monument, St. Simons Island, Ga. 

Fort Necessity National Battlefield Site, near Uniontown, Pa. 4 

1 Sixteen-page booklet published by advisory Board, San Jose Mission National Historic Site, 
San Antonio, Tex. 

2 In non-Federal ownership, having agreements with National Park Service for cooperative pre- 
servation and use. f 

3 A historical handbook relating to this area is for sale by the Superintendent of Documents, 
Washington 25, D. C, at 20 cents a copy. 

4 A historical handbook relating to this area is for sale by the Superintendent of Documents, 
Washington 25, D. C, at 25 cents a copy. 

5 A historical handbook relating to Yorktown and the siege of 1781; it is for sale by the Super- 
intendent of Documents, Washington 25, D. C, at 25 cents a copy. 

9 Sixteen-page illustrated booklet relating to this area is for sale by the Superintendent of Docu- 
ments, Washington 25, D. C, at 10 cents a copy. 

Revised I955 U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1956 O— 364815 



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office 

Washington 25, D. C. 

Interpretive Series: 

Artillery Through the Ages (35 cents). 

The Building of Castillo de San Marcos (20 cents). 

Oldest Legislative Assembly in America and Its First Statehouse (15 cents). 

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New Echota, Birthplace of the American Indian Press (10 cents). 
Rifle and Riflemen at the Battle of Kings Mountain (15 cents). 
Robert E. Lee and Fort Pulaski (15 cents). 
Wharf Building of a Century and More Ago (10 cents). 
Winter Encampments of the Revolution (15 cents). 

Source Book Series: 

Abraham Lincoln: From His Own Words and Contemporary Accounts (35 

The History of Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas from Contempo- 
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"James Towne" in the Words of Contemporaries (15 cents). 

Thomas Jefferson and the National Capital ($1.75). 

Yorktown: Climax of the Revolution (20 cents). 


3 ElOfl D^7E7 SbDD 

"Lastly and chiefly the way to prosper and achieve good success is 
to make yourselves all of one mind for the good of your Country and 
your own> and to serve and fear God the Giver of all Goodness, for 
every plantation which our Heavenly Father hath not planted shall 
be rooted out" 

from: instructions given by way of 
advice . . . for the intended 
voyage to Virginia" [1606]